Daily Riches: Exposed Before God (Thomas Merton) *

“ … we should let ourselves be brought naked and defenceless
into the center of that dread
where we stand alone before God in our nothingness,
without explanation, without theories,
completely dependent upon his providential care,
in dire need of the gift of his grace,
his mercy and the light of faith.”
Thomas Merton

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.’ At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.Woe to me!’ I cried. ‘I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.'”  Isaiah 6:1-5

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Can you imagine being “brought naked and defenceless … before God?”  … “standing alone before God in your nothingness?”  feeling “undone” in the presence of God?
  • Why would Merton suggest that we not resist this? (“we should let ourselves be brought…”)
  • Teresa of Avila prayed, “Let me not be afraid to linger here in your presence will all my humanity exposed. For you are God – you are not surprised by my frailties, my continuous failures.” Can you use these words as the basis for a prayer of your own?

Abba, it’s dreadfully painful to have “all my humanity exposed” before anyone, including you. It’s in your presence though, that I am exposed yet safe. In spite of my all my humanity, may I linger before you today, presenting myself for healing – and may I do this without any attempt to lessen the pain by offering up explanations or excuses.


For More: Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton;
Let Nothing Disturb You by Teresa of Avila


These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and he seeks after you. My goal is to provide you with something of uncommon value each day in 400 words or less. Please follow and share my blog. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Owning Our Littleness, Discovering Our Greatness (Macrina Wiederkehr and Richard Rohr)

“What God most longs to discover in us is our willingness to embrace ourselves as we are at our beginning – empty, little, and poor. Our willingness gives God free space within us to work out the Divine Plan. …Our potential for greatness is tremendous. Acceptance of our littleness makes it possible for our greatness to emerge. Our littleness is not a choice. It is simply the way we are. Our greatness, however, is a choice.  …when we allow God to fill our emptiness, we are choosing greatness. This is our story! It is a glorious story. We are little and great. Both aspects must be embraced if we are to discover our true selves. In owning our littleness we come to discover our greatness. They are two gifts that become one when they are understood and owned. A lack of understanding of these gifts can lead only to frustration and denial of our true selves. If we become preoccupied with our littleness, it can lead only to discouragement. If we become preoccupied with our greatness, it can lead only to disillusionment.”  Macrina Wiederkehr

“There are two moments that matter. One is when you know that your one and only life is absolutely valuable and alive. The other is when you know your life, as presently lived, is entirely pointless and empty. You need both of them to keep you going in the right direction. …The first such moment gives you energy and joy by connecting you with your ultimate Source and Ground. The second gives you limits and boundaries, and a proper humility, so you keep seeking the Source and Ground and not just your small self.”  Richard Rohr

“Though [the mustard seed] is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows,
 it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree….
Matthew 13:32

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you embrace both your “littleness” and your “greatness?” Which do you tend to focus on? What does that say about you?
  • Are you tempted to despair that God can bring greatness out of your smallness? What does your answer say about you?
  • What can you do to “practice” your littleness? your greatness?

Abba, I offer you my open hands, with little to give. Make something great of me.


For More: A Tree Full of Angels by Macrina Wiederkehr


Thanks for reading!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)